Thursday, October 2, 2008

Analyzing scientists at a meeting: 1 of 5

Written 10/1/08, posted later
I've been at a meeting related to my grant agency for the past three days. It has highlighted several oddities of science and scientists. This is the first of five posts from this meeting.

Have no fear--I will provide a post-poster analysis in a subsequent post. At the moment, however, I would like to talk about the meeting for which I made the poster

The most apparent thing was the lack of quality in presentations and sometimes posters in comparison to a national, large professional organization meeting. The talks here seem ill-rehearsed or not well thought through. Does it have something to do with the perceived importance of each meeting, the quality/experience of the scientists, or something else? In many cases, I think I could present my research better.

They also seem to have time management issues. Most talks go over time. Scientists should have a better sense of how many slides can fit in 15 minutes, or, failing that, one practice run should clue them in. This is not a difference from the large organization meetings--it seems to be a larger habit.


  1. I think the overtime issue is that most of them want to cram as much info as possible into their allotted time and end up with too much, so that any on-the-spot additions or interruptions will immediately make them take too long.

  2. True, but most of them should know this from experience and budget for it.

  3. I know people who don't practice their talks before they give them. More common than you'd think. Not an excuse at all- unprofessional and retarded, makes for an annoying conference.

  4. Some people can get away with not practicing more easily than others.

    I wonder why this habit is so prevalent. Is it laziness, too many demands on time, or something else? Are certain presentations considered more important than others?

    At the least, I run through the presentation in my head to make sure the timing is okay and the presentation flows smoothly.